Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Topbox Review - August 2014 - Beauty Subscription Box

What is it? Topbox
How Much? $12 per month, shipping included
What’s in it?  4 deluxe beauty samples    

My August Topbox shipped and arrived within a couple days again. That's what I love most about Topbox - super fast and efficient shipping. Other companies should take note. Last month I received the Benefit prive box and this month I opted for a wish list prive box selection again.

I received the Ombrelle Topbox! It may be boring to some, but I go through a few sunscreen bottles a month, especially during the summertime.

 The Ombrelle Topbox includes three bottles of Ombrelle Complete SPF 60.

Ombrelle Complete SPF 60 (50ml x 3, $9.99)
Discover Ombrelle's moisturizing SPF 60 sun protection with antioxidant. Dermatologist recommended. This non-greasy and fast absorbing formula provides broad spectrum photostable protection against UVA & UVB rays.
A full size is 120-240ml and ranges from $17.99 to $27.99 CDN and is available at all major health care retailers, including Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs, and Estimated price is based on London Drugs 120ml for $17.99.

I am very happy I opted for the Ombrelle Topbox this month. I received three products with an approximate value of $30. I only paid $13.44 for this box (including tax), so it's a great value. Ombrelle is an expensive sun care line so I'm happy to get some at such a great discount.

What did you get in your August Topbox?

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

StrideBox Review - August 2014 - Fitness Subscription Box

What is it? StrideBox
How Much? $15 per month, plus $5 shipping
What's in it? 6-8 curated samples of performance products, running accessories, gear, and nutritional products to enhance your active lifestyle

StrideBox is a fitness subscription box aimed at runners. Each month, StrideBox sends out a box full of "Stuff Runners Want". StrideBox may include everything from apparel and accessories, to nutrition products and performance supplements. The products included are focused on running, training, and recovery.

I recently took up running again, after being off for a year due to a foot injury. I decided to sign up for StrideBox as a treat to myself, and as motivation to keep at it.

First look

StrideBox is only $15 per month, plus $5 shipping to Canada. They accept payment via credit card or PayPal. Boxes ship the first week of the month, and you can cancel any time.

 Second look

Product card and sticker

Power Ice Frozen Hydration in Pomegranate Raspberry Rip ($1)
The summertime hydration favorite is now all-natural and comes in 2 new flavors. Enjoy on a hot day to replenish and hydrate.

Lock Laces shoe laces in Reflective Emerald Green ($9.99)
Never come undone or untied during your trainings or competitions.

PowerBar Performance Energy Wafer in Chocolate Peanut Butter ($1.49)
Includes proprietary C2Max dual source energy blend found to deliver up to 50% more energy than glucose alone.

SportLegs Lactate Supplement ($1.75 x 2)
Helps reduce lactic acid production, so your muscles produce only as much as they need to perform their very best.

2nd Surge Ultra Energy Gel in Pina Colada  ($1.99)
Contains 100mg of caffeine to provide rapid energy.

Hammer Nutrition Recoverite in Vanilla (1 serving, $3.50)
Formula provides exactly what your body needs after training/racing.

MRM Hydration Factor in Natural Citrus ($1.33)
Unlike typical flavored electrolyte drinks, this offers increased intracellular update to optimize your hydration level. 

The August StrideBox included 7 products valued at $22.80. Most of the products also come with promo codes to get full size products. I was incredibly happy to see the Lock Laces because I almost bought a pair recently. I don't love the emerald green colour (they won't match my pink Asics) so I might use the promo code provided and order another pair. The rest of the sports nutrition products will be handy for all my outdoor activities, like hiking and cycling, not just running. The SportLeg supplements are very interesting and I think they will be great for uphill hikes or long bike rides. I would love to see more apparel or accessories type products in future boxes, but this is a good start and I'm happy with my first StrideBox.

What do you think of StrideBox?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Bonjour Jolie Review - July 2014 - Time of the Month Subscription Box

This box was provided complimentary through referral credits.
What is it? Bonjour Jolie
How much? $16 per month plus $10 shipping to Canada
What's in it? "Each Box Contains Feminine Products, Specialty Bath and Body Items, Gifts, Teas, and Artisianal Chocolates"  

I used to subscribe to Bonjour Jolie, but the last box I received was in September 2013. Bonjour Jolie contacted me out of the blue recently and advised I had earned enough referral credits for a free box. It was a very unexpected, but pleasant surprise.

If you aren't familiar with Bonjour Jolie, is a "premium subscription box designed exclusively for women to be pampered during their period". Bonjour Jolie sends you everything you need to sail through your monthly period with ease. You will receive your monthly supplies (up to 25 pieces of your choice), a gift, some edible items, and some pampering items. They also try to send the box out so it arrives just before your cycle is set to begin. It's a great concept and it's always fun to open a Bonjour Jolie box.

 Packed with care - same as always!

First look

 Product card 

There's a theme for July! I don't know if this is a recurring thing or a one off, but the theme for July is honey... or bees? Both?!

The Gift:

Bee & Amber Honey Drop Necklace ($24)

The Edibles:

Nature Valley Crunchy Oats 'n Honey bar ($1)

Joyva Honey Sesame Crunch (6 pieces, $1)

Betterbee Sweet Honey Candy (8 pieces, $1.50)

Glorybee Flavoured Honey Sticks (3 sticks, $1)

Davidson's Honey Tea (5 bags, $1.60)

No chocolate this month?!

The Pampering:

Honey Fusion Lotion Bar ($3)

Ogranic Honey Vanilla Lip Balm ($5)

Organic Honeycomb Soap ($3)
All three of the products above are labeled "Bonjour Jolie". I'm not sure if this means the Bonjour Jolie team made the soaps themselves? If so, that's pretty cool. The soaps and lip balm are listed as being available for purchase via the Bonjour Jolie shop. Problem is, the shop has not been updated since December 2013, and none of these products are listed.

Honey Almond Bath Oil Beads ($2)

PureTouch Skin Care Feminine Wipes (2 wipes, $0.50)

Advil Tablets (4 tablets,  $1)

The Supplies:

Tampax Pearl Super (18 pack - $6.49)
This is the first time I have had my Bonjour Jolie supplies come in the box. I'm not sure if it's always like this now, or just for my promo box. I was a bit bummed to see only 18 tampons and no pads or liners. Subscribers have the opportunity to select 25 items, but because this was a complimentary referral box, I didn't have that opportunity.

The July Bonjour Jolie box was a nice treat. It contained almost everything I need for period time. An assortment of feminine hygiene products would have been better than just a box of super tampons, but they're still useful. (Remember that when you sign up, you have the chance to select which products you would like to receive. You can pick any combination of pads, liners, or tampons, up to 25 units so you get exactly what you need.) The honey bath products are great and the necklace gift is very cute. As for the edibles, I'd prefer to see chocolate in a period box, but I appreciate the effort that went into sourcing out honey flavoured snacks to fit the theme. Once again it's another fun box from Bonjour Jolie. I really think this box would be great for a teenager just starting her period. It would be a nice treat every month to help offset the woes that come with being a women!

What do you think of Bonjour Jolie?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag Review - August 2014 - Beauty Subscription Bag

This post contains referral links.
What is it? Ipsy Glam Bag
How Much? $10 per month, plus $4.95 shipping to Canada
What’s in it?  4-5 beauty products every month  
My August Ipsy bag shipped August 8 and arrived August 14. Pretty good Ipsy! Normally I try not to peek at spoilers in advance of receiving my bag. Unfortunately this month, there was a very vocal minority on various social media sites expressing disappointment and anger towards the August offerings. I checked my Glam Room to see what I was getting and try to figure out what all the fuss was about. From what I can gather, sample size is the biggest issue. Many of the samples are very small, so some assume this means low value. Let's take a look at what I received and see if the August Ipsy bag is worth the cost. All price estimates are in US dollars and sources are linked.

The theme for August is "Beauty Schooled".
Learn the rules, so that you can break them. This month, you'll discover that you'll never stop learning - especially, when it comes to the world of beauty. With everything from styling skills, application techniques, to channeling your inner confidence and uniqueness... With the help of ipsy and your August Glam Bag, you're about to get "schooled." 
The bag... not a fan. I hate these plastic-y, rounded bags. I always end up tossing them into the donation pile. 

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara (3ml, $5.60)
Bigger. Blacker. Badder. Urban Decay's ultra-creamy, lengthening and volumizing mascara features triple-black pigments and a deeply nourishing ingredient blend. Perversion Mascara gets you sexy in one stroke, yet it won’t quit until you say when. 
This is a new product to the Urban Decay line, released in June. Ipsy has been great for including new products. I have it listed on my swap/sell board because I have way too many mascara samples. A full size is 11.8ml for $22, available at Sephora.

Absolute New York Lip Balm in Grape (12g, $2.99)
Treat your lips with this ultra-moisturizing lip balm from Absolute New York. This lightly tinted, creamy, conditioning formula softens, smooths, and protects lips for a seriously kissable pout. Discover this must-have balm for sensationally soft and luscious lips! 
This balm smells fabulous. The site linked through Ipsy does not ship to Canada, so if you want more, check Amazon. A full size is a two-balm set for $5.99 (or $4.99 on Amazon).

Lord & Berry SILK Kajal Kohl Eye Liner (0.6g, $6.40)
Sensual and exotic, that's the effect that Silk Kajal Kohl Eye Pencil delivers. Just like the traditional Kohl, but with the modern ease and control of a pencil. Giving a semi-matte finish that is also smudgeable, Silk Kajal Kohl's soft tip is ophthalmologically-tested and gentle enough to be used on the inner eye.
Yup. This little nubbin is worth more than $6! It is just about a third smaller than the full size (2.5 x smaller to be exact). A full size is 1.5g for $16 and available at various sources online including Amazon, Lord & Berry, and Asos. I prefer liquid liners so this one was sold on my swap/sell board.

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner (7.5ml, $11.25)
A cult favorite, pores no more pore refiner primer is Dr. Brandt’s quick fix for flawless, photo-ready skin. It is the miracle base to create the perfect skin canvas for long-lasting makeup and well-preserved skin. This velvety formula absorbs excess oil, minimizes pores, blurs fine lines and is resistant to sweat and humidity. Prime, touch-up and treat while perfecting your makeup.  
A full size is 30ml for $45, available through Sephora and Dr. Brandt.

Coastal Scents Forever Blush Sample Duo (2.5g, $1.99)
Coastal Scents Forever Blush boasts 18 perfectly pigmented, powder blushes with a long-lasting rush of color. Complete with a mirror, these color-packed compacts go a long way.
This is a pretty small sample, but still bigger than that awful blush sample that The Balm sent out a while ago. A full size is 10g for $7.95 and comes in a compact with a mirror. Available from Coastal Scents and Amazon.

My August Ipsy Glam Bag included five products, valued at $28.23 US. I paid $14.95 for this bag ($10 plus $4.95 shipping), so the value is just under double the price paid. It's certainly not the best value bag I've received from Ipsy, but it's still worth more than I paid. The samples are small, compared to some products Ipsy has included in the past, but they are industry standard sample sizes. All are 1/4 or 1/3 of the full size product, and a few of them hold a great deal of value. I guess we've become so accustomed to receiving full size products from Ipsy that it's disappointing when a month comes and we don't receive any.

I'm actually happy with the bag I received. I will use the pore refiner and lip balm. I posted the blush, mascara, and eyeliner on my swap/sell board. I would be happy to keep the mascara, but I currently have so many samples, there is no way I can use them all in a reasonable amount of time. The eyeliner is nice, but I prefer liquid over pencil. The blush is a pass because I don't wear it often and these ones aren't my colours. So while these products don't work for me, they are still great products.

What did you receive in your August Ipsy bag?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Popbasic - New Limited Edition Wanderlust Collection Available

This post contains referral links.

What is it? Popbasic
How Much? Between $50-100 per collection, with free shipping (does not cover duties/tax). Save $15 off your first order using my referral link.
What's in it? Three-piece micro collection plus a beauty or lifestyle surprise from a partnering company.
Popbasic is a fashion service based in San Francisco, California. Popbasic believes "staples are a necessity in every wardrobe".  Popbasic produces "beautiful, luxurious pieces so you can build your wardrobe over time". It's not a subscription service. If you sign up to receive one collection, you will not automatically receive the next one. Instead, Popbasic releases details on each collection and let's you decide whether or not you want to purchase it. 

Basics should be beautiful, super soft, but most of all fun!

Popbasic just released a new limited edition collection called Wanderlust. It includes a cardigan sweater, a t shirt, and a necklace. It is available for $78 (US) while supplies last.

Impulse Cardigan RRP $60
The perfect companion to any outfit. Wrap yourself up in our Impulse Cardigan when you’re about to embark on a road trip, or heading out for a few last minute dinner essentials. 95% rayon; 5% spandex. Machine wash; cool iron.

The Traveler Tee RRP $45 
A staple in every suitcase, The Traveler Tee is a light weight cotton, that pairs effortlessly with jeans, ballet flats and a cardigan. 80% cotton; 15% polyester; 5% spandex. Machine wash; cool iron. 

Drifter Necklace RRP $50
An effortless piece for when you’re packing light. Wear your Drifter Necklace with your casual day outfits, or pair with a simple black dress when you’re enjoying dinner and a show. Gunmetal.
I love this collection! It's totally my style and would be great for fall. I signed up as soon as I saw the e-mail.

What do you think of Popbasic?

Interested in signing up? If you sign up using my referral link, you will get $15 off your first collection. Click here to check it out.

Green Kid Crafts - Back to School Sale!

This post contains affiliate links.

What is it? Green Kid Crafts  
How much?  $19.95/month (save with 6 & 12 month subscriptions), plus $8/month shipping   
What's in it? 3-4 creative discovery kits to build your child's confidence & creativity.

Green Kid Crafts is a monthly Creativity and STEM Science Box subscription service that provides all the hands-on materials needed to inspire creative and educational fun. Plus, they also offer tons of single boxes with themes like Kitchen Science, Ocean, Mad Scientist, Nocturnal Animals, Green Energy, and much more. Use code “BACK2SCHOOL10" to save $10 off any subscription, plus receive bonus welcome materials and activities. This offer is valid for new subscribers only and expires August 31, 2014.

Visit here to start shopping!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Tyler Florence Fancy Box Review - July 2013 - Lifestyle Subscription Box

This post contains referral links.

What is it? Tyler Florence Fancy Box - discontinued. Now called Culinary Fancy Box.
How Much? $39 per month, plus $17 shipping to Canada
What's in it? Check here

I recently re-subscribed to the Tyler Florence Fancy Box, only to discover it was being discontinued. My Tyler Florence subscription automatically transferred over to a new Culinary Fancy Box subscription. Check for my review of that one coming next month!

The Tyler Florence box promised "the best home goods hand-picked by celebrity chef Tyler Florence". I received one of his boxes before, back in May 2013, and was pretty happy with it. I love cooking and gadgets so I was looking forward to another fun box from a great celebrity chef. Turns out, this is also the last Fancy box curated by Tyler Florence, so I hope it's a good one!

The box was about 3/4 full and fairly heavy. I take that as a good sign!

 A "goodbye" note from Tyler was included. It just reiterated that the Tyler Florence Fancy Box was ending.

 Bi-fold product card instead of individual cards. I like this better.

Ad n Art Tilt Mug in blue ($15)
The first thing I pull out of the box and it's a huge let down. If you've been following my blog for a while, you will know this looks familiar. I already received one from my last Tyler Florence Fancy Box. I know that Fancy is notorious for including duplicate products in various Fancy boxes, but to include a duplicate item in the same Fancy box is pretty ridiculous. Now I have a pair. I guess that's a bonus.

Kikkerland Burger Coasters ($6)
This box is not getting better. I have a hard time believing Tyler Florence would have something like this in his own home. This will be saved for a "Tacky Gift Exchange" party over the holidays. What else could I possibly do with it?

Acacia Salt Cellar ($16)
This seems more like something Chef Florence would select and it will be used in my kitchen. There's still hope for this box!

Sagaform Oil & Vinegar Oak Set ($26)
This is another great item. I'm not sure whether or not I will use it for myself or save for a gift, but it seems to be of good quality. The cruets could be useful for home infused oils.

6-piece Hermetic Spice Jars ($16)
I was a little surprised to see these jars. They didn't come packaged as a boxed set, but rather wrapped in bubble wrap in sets of three. I will find a use for them somehow... spices, buttons, gifting?

The final Tyler Florence Fancy Box included five products, valued at $79. The box is hit and miss for me. Two products are total eyebrow raisers, while three of the products are things I would expect from Tyler Florence and are actually of use to me. I'm looking forward to receiving the inaugural Culinary Fancy Box next month to see how it compares to the Tyler Florence Box.

 If you are interested in the Culinary Fancy Box, click here.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Body Morphia Review - August 2014 - Fitness Subscription Box

This box was received complimentary for review.
How Much? $19.99/month including shipping
What’s in it?  5 to 6 full-sized and trial samples of nutritional supplements, vitamins, and health solutions.
Body Morphia is a new Canadian subscription service that sends out a monthly Body Bag full of nutrition products such as supplements, proteins, meal replacements, and health food products. The value is guaranteed to be double the subscription price. Body Morphia generously sent me the August Body Bag for review. 

The "body bag" for August is a yoga mat carrier. It's not the best quality, but I could actually use one of these so it's good for me.

Product card

Liquid Grip Carabiner Bottle (1.5oz, $9.99)
Say hello to improved grip in the weight room, on the yoga mat or out on the field and goodbye to powders, chalk & slippage.
I'm not a weight lifter, and I don't need it for yoga, so this will be passed on to a Crossfitter friend of mine.

My Yoga Works Online Yoga Classes (6 weeks free trial, $22.50 value)
Stream 6 weeks of yoga classes anywhere, anytime, with hundreds of classes available at every skill level, for every fitness goal. 
A credit card is required to sign up, but it won't be charged until the end of the 6-week free trial. Just be sure to cancel before then. I'm just getting into yoga so I might give this a try and experience it in the comfort of my own home.

Gaspari Nutrition Aminolast Recovery & Endurance BCAA Superfuel Sample (14g, $1.50)
Recovery & Endurance BCAA Superfuel rides muscle of fatigue with leucine-enriched amnio acids & anti-cramping electrolytes. 
This might be good for a long distance bike ride, but I will probably pass this one along to my Crossfit friend as well.

Your Tea Tiny Tea (6 tea bags, $5)
Herbal tea blend that nourishes & cleanses your digestive system to assist in reducing weight, ease bloating & increase energy.
Body Morphia describes this as being a 2-day supply worth for a "TeaTox", but the Your Tea instructions say to drink twice daily, so it's actually a 3-day supply. Your Tea suggests a 14 or 28 day "TeaTox".

Clip & Run mp3 Player ($9.99)
I found this an odd item to include. Every one I know owns an iPod, iPhone, or other top brand mp3, so I can't see how this would be useful for anyone. It is also extremely low quality, and requires a micro SD card loaded with mp3's in order to function. It also came with no packaging (other than a plastic zip top bag), and no instructions... and mine has a large scratch across the top. Amazon is selling them for $6.75...

The August Body Morphia Body Bag included 4 products, plus a free-trial promo code. The approximate value of this month's bag is $26.48 without the yoga trial, and $48.98 with. I am most looking forward to trying out the TeaTox. While I was happy to see more variety in this bag over last month, the products themselves were underwhelming for me. I prefer to see more food products like meal replacements, supplements, and healthy snack items.

What do you think of Body Morphia?